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Ducks, Islanders have big interest

With the 10 world junior rosters now in place, the NHL teams with the most interest are the Anaheim Ducks and New York Islanders. Each has seven players in the tournament.

Anaheim has forwards Brandon McMillan (Canada), Kyle Palmieri (USA), Radoslav Illo (Slovakia), defencemen Jake Gardiner (USA), Sami Vatanen (Finland), Luca Sbisa (Switzerland) and goaltender Igor Bobkov (Russia).

The Islanders have forward Kirill Petrov (Russia), goaltender Anders Nilsson (Sweden), and five defencemen: Travis Hamonic and Calvin de Haan (Canada), Matt Donovan (USA), Jyri Niemi (Finland), and Anton Klementyev (Russia).

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Lots of promising defencemen in the lot: Sbisa has 47 NHL games under his belt with the Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. Vatanen plays in the top Finnish league and has 17 points in 29 games, while Gardiner is a first-2008 rounder.

For the Islanders, Klementyev is playing in the American Hockey League. Hamonic, of the Western Hockey League's Moose Jaw Warriors (39 points in 31 games), has improved by leaps and bounds, and de Haan was the 12th overall pick last June.

Three teams - Edmonton, St. Louis and Nashville - have five players in the tournament.

*****

Some notes on the Sweden-Austria game today.

Sweden

Adam Larsson, who could become the first selection of the 2011 draft, had a goal in his tournament debut against the Czech Republic on Saturday. The big defenceman (6 foot 2, 209 lbs.) is drawing comparisons to Victor Hedman, the second pick in 2009 (Lightning). Larsson, who turned 17 last month, is looking to become the second Swede taken first overall (Mats Sundin 1989).

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Oliver Ekman-Larsson couldn't crack a loaded Swedish blue line last year, but the sixth overall pick of the 2009 draft (Coyotes) could be one of the best offensive rearguards in the 2010 tournament. Sweden's defensive corps could have been scary-good had Hedman and Ottawa Senators 2008 first-rounder Erik Karlsson (best defenceman at the 2009 WJC tournament) been released by their NHL teams.

Austria

Forward Konstantin Komarek is the second-youngest player in the tournament after Sweden's Larsson. He is also a 2011 NHL draft prospect, and scored a goal in the tournament opener against Russia. He's trying to follow in the footsteps of Austrian scorers Tomas Vanek (Buffalo) and Michael Grabner (Vancouver).

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About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

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